The Story of Emily and Control: „There's an old joke about a statistician who had twins. She baptized one, and kept the other as a control. Laugh all you like. It'll never be funny to me. I know the true story.“
(Die erste Ausgabe von Ales Kots Wolf ist gestern erschienen. Lasst schonmal alle Kot-Jokes raus und gewöhnt Euch an den Namen, denn den werden wir in den kommenden Jahren noch oft hören.)
Joshua Cohen’s Book of Numbers: „In Joshua Cohen’s new novel, Book of Numbers, a struggling writer named Joshua Cohen is hired to ghostwrite the autobiography of Joshua Cohen, a Jobsian tech guru whose vast empire, Tetration, was founded on the invention of search.“
Immersion Into Noise: „The noise factor is the ratio of signal to noise of an input signal to that of the output signal. Noise can block or interfere with the meaning of a message in both human and electronic communication. But in Information Theory, noise is still considered to be information. By refining the definition of noise as that which addresses us outside of our preferred comfort zone, Joseph Nechvatal's Immersion Into Noise investigates multiple aspects of cultural noise by applying the audio understanding of noise to the visual, architectural and cognitive domains.“
The “digital perversity” whereby the deafening noise of social media is at once a “terrible silence” is anticipated by Dionysus: “His trademark entrance on to an Arcadian scene involves blaring pandemonium, but crucially it is from within this noisy ecstasy that a terrible silence petrifies any mortal present.” With such uncanny intrusions of the ancient into the present, the book niftily performs its central conceit.
One of the many rich ironies of 4D life is that its merciless dissolution of spatial and temporal boundaries intensifies our nostalgia for a sentimentally pristine past. Exhibit A here is the Oakland-based firm Digital Detox, which offers a tailored escape from networked life in the form of Camp Grounded, where adult participants “shed their digital selves to re-create an idealised vision of summer-camp innocence”, complete with “woodworking, pickling, analogue photography and archery”.
But such intricately planned artifice, Scott argues, can only aggravate the predicament it is meant to relieve by confirming the irretrievability of our personal and historical pasts: “As is common with simulations, Camp Grounded has the form of a simile with none of the novelty: your food will be like your childhood food; you will live like the Scouts you used to be.” The escapist simulations of the 4D world are a notably egregious instance of the impoverishment of language, constricting rather than expanding our imaginative breathing space.
I, Racist: „All the Black voices in the world speaking about racism all the time do not move White people to think about it– but one White John Stewart talking about Charleston has a whole lot of White people talking about it. That’s the world we live in. Black people can't change it while White people are silent and deaf to our words. White people are in a position of power in this country because of racism. The question is: Are they brave enough to use that power to speak against the system that gave it to them?“
The end of capitalism has begun: „Without us noticing, we are entering the postcapitalist era. At the heart of further change to come is information technology, new ways of working and the sharing economy. The old ways will take a long while to disappear, but it’s time to be utopian“. (Pulled Finger #4782)
Police brutality protesters now have a Twitter bot to handle their haters: „'It’s for activists or people who deal with a lot of — I would say — people who expect to be given a free education,' Courtney Stanton, co-founder of Feel Train, the coding studio that designed StayWokeBot, told Mashable. 'It allows you to distribute the same information over and over again very quickly.'“
Inside the secretive, exclusive social networks of Hollywood: „in Hollywood they’re called tracking boards—usually email listservs or private Facebook groups that disseminate privileged information, including job openings, deals, leaked screenplays, and the latest film and TV screeners. They’re the digital manifestation of all those informal connections that power the West Coast dream factory, with all the pros and cons that implies.“
Why science denialism and conspiracy theory walk together, suspiciously: 'Science literacy promoted polarization on climate, not consensus,' writes Achenbach. We use scientific evidence to reinforce conclusions that spring from our beliefs, our personality, and our worldview. A well-designed experiment is no match for a Weltanschauung. This is most clearly understood by Thomas Pynchon, the greatest modern novelist of paranoia. 'There is something comforting—religious, if you want—about paranoia,' Pynchon wrote in Gravity’s Rainbow. The alternative is 'anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long.'
A World without Work: „For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?“
Confessions from the Scammy, Underground World of Kindle eBooks (Pt2): „On the surface it’s a badass story of success: a young professional quits his job, becomes a self-published author, and earns six figures per year. Except for one thing: he doesn’t actually write the books he publishes. Instead, he has a team of outsourced writers and creatives who pump out dozens of books a year to game Amazon and dominate various book categories.“
God Tier: Facebook moms run the meme game: „The advice meme as we knew it (original characters captioned in Impact) is dead. But while the internet cultural vanguard moved on, a newer class of internet user, the well-connected mainstreamer, reinvented it. We live in the age of the post-meme.“
Bad thinkers: „The problem with conspiracy theorists is not, as the US legal scholar Cass Sunstein argues, that they have little relevant information. The key to what they end up believing is how they interpret and respond to the vast quantities of relevant information at their disposal.“
Archaically, most Welsh profanity was derived from either religion or from the rural background of the country, meaning that most swearwords or phrases are about various livestock and their bits and bobs, and so I decided to find some (plus the ones that our Welsh teacher taught us in year 12, good on you Mrs Evans) and now I am dead.
- coc y gath - this literally means ‘the cat’s dick’, but its closest English equivalent would probably be ‘bollocks’ - used when something doesn’t work out the way you planned, eg ‘dw i wedi colli fy waled, coc y gath!’
- cachu hwch - similar to ‘coc y gath’ in meaning and use; when something has gone wrong (literally ‘pig’s shit’)
- coc oen - similar to the above (literally ‘lamb’s willy’)
Typeface “Seen” is preloaded with a set of “trigger words” that get crossed out: „Created by Emil Kozole, Seen is a project that deals with interception and filtering of our communications by the NSA, GCHQ and other security agencies. It is a typeface with a preloaded set of “trigger words” these agencies target when scanning through our online communications. The typeface can be installed and used as any other font, but once any of the trigger words is written, the font immediately crosses it out. This way it automatically highlights and points out the content prone to secret surveillance.“
Nervenzentren der Logistik: „Eine bildliche Reise entlang der weltweiten Warenströme und ein Interview mit dem Fotografen Henrik Spohler“.
Kabbalistic Synthesizer – Waveforms by macrocosmic phenomena: „Kabbalistic Synthesizer is a is a musical synthesizer that uses the combination of electric signals to build and create sound bottom up using its raw basic elements. It replaces all usual functions of a regular synthesizer, signal, noise, ADSR, gate and keyboard with alternatives that are generated by live macrocosmic phenomena. The result is a synth that operates itself with waveforms generated by the Earths magnetic field, noise via magnetic storms of Jupiter and keyboard via cosmic rays.“
Sensual Machines – Adult Computer Vision Experiment: „The experiment started innocently with a web-crawler collecting 10gb of images from the Web. The data was then analysed. Disconcertingly, a large proportion of these images turned out to be pornographic or militaristic in nature. Let’s explore this adult statistical anomaly through the eyes of machines - so we can see better.“
When You Give a Tree an Email Address: „The city of Melbourne assigned trees email addresses so citizens could report problems. Instead, people wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees.“
„WORD WARS, a new project by Deswaef, is an ongoing series of daily videos generated from news about war, in the style of the Star Wars opening crawl.“
Why is Deep Dream turning the world into a doggy monster hellscape?: „An image classification system must be "trained" on an image set. Before it can identify a fork, it must be fed a number of pictures of forks, so that it can analyze their key characteristics. The dataset used to train the Deep Dream system, according to knowledgeable Reddit user emptv, is called ImageNet, which contains many image sets of dogs. In an alternative quickly proposed by other Reddit users, Deep Dream could alternatively be trained on the dick algorithm, and then it would see dicks everywhere.“
This is pretty much like that Newsroom-Episode: Earth’s Most Famous Climate Scientist Issues Bombshell Sea Level Warning: „Chris Mooney, writing for Mother Jones, called that study a 'holy shit' moment for the climate. One necessary note of caution: Hansen’s study comes via a nontraditional publishing decision by its authors. The study will be published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, an open-access “discussion” journal, and will not have formal peer review prior to its appearance online later this week.“
However, if it stands, we are fucked:
The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years [related: It already started in Miami]. The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate. Hansen, who is known for being alarmist and also right, acknowledges that his study implies change far beyond previous consensus estimates. In a conference call with reporters, he said he hoped the new findings would be “substantially more persuasive than anything previously published.” I certainly find them to be.
To come to their findings, the authors used a mixture of paleoclimate records, computer models, and observations of current rates of sea level rise, but “the real world is moving somewhat faster than the model,” Hansen says.
Hansen’s study does not attempt to predict the precise timing of the feedback loop, only that it is “likely” to occur this century. The implications are mindboggling: In the study’s likely scenario, New York City—and every other coastal city on the planet—may only have a few more decades of habitability left.
An Algorithmic Sense of Humor? Not Yet.: „Artificial-intelligence researchers have made vast strides recently in matching various human capabilities. But for the moment, humor looks beyond their reach.“
Humor: The Next Killer App: „might humor be the key to unlocking a whole new way for us to relate to machines? I’ve always wondered why we haven’t designed more humor into our technology. Humans are funny. We like to laugh. We like to make jokes. It’s an important part of who we are. Why not use humor as a primary design principle for human-computer interactions?“
Possible Problems of Persona Politeness: „I, myself, am already starting to distinguish between the personalities of the different bots in my life. Phone Siri is funnier than Watch Siri; Slackbot is cheeky, and might need reeducating; iPad Siri seems shy and isolated. From these personalities, from these interactions, we’ll take our cues. Not only in how to interact, but when and where, and what we can do together.“
Sexual fetish research shows there are few limits to erotic desire: „'Dacryphilia is a non-normative sexual interest that involves enjoyment or arousal from tears and crying, and to date, it has never been researched empirically. The present study set out to discover the different interests within dacryphilia and to explore the range of dacryphilic experience.' Read it and weep.“
The Big One: „Four to six minutes after the dogs start barking, the shaking will subside. For another few minutes, the region, upended, will continue to fall apart on its own. Then the wave will arrive, and the real destruction will begin.“
Impulsive Rich Kid, Impulsive Poor Kid: „It seems that if you wanted to reduce crime rates, you’d want to impact the impulse to commit a crime and eliminate those 'ten minutes' that ruin both the victims and criminal’s lives. But how would you do that?“
Made to Order: „Divide the number 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,998,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 into 1 and express the result as a decimal expansion, and you’ll find the Fibonacci sequence presented in tidy 24-digit strings“:
Lion Facial Recognition Debuts in Africa: „The database of lion profiles was built with the first facial-recognition software specifically designed to analyze the mugs of these big cats and distinguish them from one another. With LINC, the conservation organization and other wildlife researchers will have an easier way to monitor the beasts’ whereabouts.“
Web Design: The First 100 Years: „Rather than waiting passively for technology to change the world, let's see how much we can do with what we already have.“
HR2 Der Tag: Leicht entflammbar – Deutschland und seine Brandstifter: „Es brennt in Deutschland, doch kaum einer sieht die Flammen. Nicht nur in Reichertshofen, Waldaschaff oder Remchingen haben in den vergangenen Tagen Flüchtlingsunterkünfte oder Gebäude, die das erst noch werden sollten, gebrannt. Diese drei kleinen Gemeinden sind nur die letzten in einer langen Reihe von Orten, die zum Ziel von Anschlägen mit sogenannten 'ausländerfeindlichen Motiven' wurden. Allein in diesem Jahr, so das Bundesinnenministerium, wurden über 150 solcher Straftaten gezählt. Die Zahl derer, die sich dadurch bestätigt fühlen, mag gering sein. Denn immer wieder setzt sich nicht nur aus humanitären Gründen ein trotzig forderndes 'Jetzt erst recht!' durch. Vielerorts breiten die Menschen die Arme aus, weil sie wissen, dass das Leben und nicht zuletzt die Demokratie Pluralität braucht. Für die Vielfalt von Meinungen, Erfahrungen und Mentalitäten machen wir einen Löschversuch.“
Deutschlandfunk:Autobiografie von Oliver Sacks – Innenansichten eines Außenseiters (MP3): „Der aus England stammende Oliver Sacks wurde vor allem mit medizinischen Fallgeschichten wie "Die Zeit des Erwachens" bekannt. Als Neurologe bewahrt er sich den Blick für das Ungewöhnliche und Rätselhafte. Mit treffenden Worten und großer Offenheit blickt Sacks in "On the move" nun auf sein eigenes Leben zurück.“
DRadio Kultur:WAS TUN MIT DEM HASS IM NETZ? (MP3): „Die Meinungsfreiheit im Netz ist eine schwierige Angelegenheit. Viele Menschen sind aggressiver, wenn sie virtuell unterwegs sind, als auf offener Straße. Das trügerische Gefühl der eigenen Unsichtbarkeit im Internet führt in harmlosen Fällen zu Kommentaren ohne Sinn, aber sehr oft auch zu offenen Anfeindungen, Drohungen und verbaler Gewalt.“
The Infinite Monkey Cage USA Tour: Chicago: „Fossil Records and other Archaeological Hits. Brian Cox and Robin Ince take to the stage in Chicago, Illinois, to discuss fossil records and evolution. They are joined on stage by host of NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" Peter Sagal, comedian and Saturday Night Live alumnus Julia Sweeney, palaeontologist Paul Sereno and evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne.“
Moral: Eine Frage des Glaubens?: „Die Grenzen des Erlaubten (12) | Religiöse Menschen zeigen in Umfragen zwar ein höheres soziales Engagement. In Verhaltensexperimenten erweisen sie sich dennoch nicht 'gemeinwohlorientierter' als Atheisten.“
- Gutterdämmerung: „The legendary Grace Jones and the iconic Iggy Pop are the first stars to be announced for the forthcoming epic loud and dark fairytale Gutterdämmerung, a new rock ‘n’ roll / film / gig concept from the mind of Belgian-Swedish visual artist Bjorn Tagemose. Gutterdämmerung is part rock show part immersive cinema experience featuring some of the biggest rock names on the planet.“
[S]everal people are predicting a massive crash in the studio world in the near future when a couple of tentpole blockbusters fail badly, and I’m inclined to think the odds of that happening are good.
The sheer quantity of indie features being made right now – 10,000+ a year or more – also all but guarantees that we’ll see an E.L. James style breakout hit from the truly indie film world in the near future; probably more than one.
I’m less than convinced about the long-term viability of the feature format, because it’s dependent on the cinema as a long-term cultural artifact.
VR is either going to fail utterly or be huge, for values of ‘huge’ meaning ‘bigger than the mobile phone’. I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the impact of the first genuine reality simulation.
VR isn’t just a game-changer — it’s a reality-changer.